At the end of the year, large-scale conservation and reconstruction works were completed in the Dobele Castle Chapel
The Chapel of the Livonian Castle Order in Dobele, where archaeologists, restorers, architects and builders worked for more than two years, is now put into operation. The popular tourist attraction and historical site has become a multifunctional centre for the development of culture, crafts and tourism.
Construction works, including the complex castle wall conservation works, were performed by the General Partnership RERE Meistari 1 in accordance with the project developed by LLC Konvents and LLC Office of Architect Ināra Caunīte. The author of the project idea (defined 15 years ago), the construction project manager and the author's supervisor was architect Pēteris Blūms; Irēna Boks and Ilmārs Andrejevs-Empelis served in the project as the construction engineers, but the construction supervision was performed by LLC RS Būvnieks
The chapel of the Livonian Order Castle has partially regained its shape and turned into a modern building surrounded by ancient walls with exhibition halls and a viewing area on the roof. Here visitors will have the opportunity to see the outlines of the ancient castle and the City of Dobele from the highest point of view.
Architect Pēteris Blūms emphasizes: "Reviving the ruins is a challenge to the modern mentality. It is a great opportunity to combine the true essence of ruins into contemporary architecture. Every conservation or restoration of ruins distances and erases the truth of the vanishing reality, even if one tries very hard not to do so. We have a choice whether to fetishize necrotic large forms of ruins with fading authenticity, or try to create safer shelters for the authentic survival of ruins. With this project, we have created this safe haven for authenticity in the ruins of Dobele Castle.”
Andrejs Spridzāns, the Chairman of Dobele District Council, points out: "Dobele, and the whole Zemgale Region, have gained a valuable cultural monument that will enrich everyone's cultural experience. We have raised the historical value of Dobele by attracting targeted funding, and we will dedicate meaningful and long-term investments in tourism services."
"Taking a closer look at the results, it can be seen that the Dobele Castle Chapel will become a noteworthy part of Latvia's modern construction culture, where the historical coexists with the modern, respecting centuries-old traditions and creating new examples of future technologies in conservation of monuments," concludes Guntis Āboltiņš-Āboliņš, RERE Group Chairman.
Nadežda Čerpaka, the project manager from Dobele District Local Government, thanks all those involved in this complex project, starting with the architect, archaeological researchers, builders, construction supervisors and specialists of the regional museum, who will find house in these premises in the future. Visitors will be able to see the new site in the summer, as work is currently underway to create expositions and new services in the newly created multifunctional hall, where it will be possible to organize lectures, seminars and exhibitions. The exposition will also feature 13th and 14th century antiquities found in the cultural layer of castle ruins as a result of archaeological research carried out during construction.
Dobele District Local Government attracted European Union funding for the implementation of the construction project on Dobele Livonian Order Castle Chapel Wall Restoration under programme "Growth and Employment", priority direction "Environmental protection and resource efficiency", specific support objective 5.5.1 "Preservation, protection and development of important cultural and natural heritage, as well as development of related services", implementing the joint cooperation project “Preservation and development of significant cultural and historical heritage for the improvement of the cultural tourism offer in Zemgale Region”. The costs were covered from the EU fund and the local government, taking a loan from the Treasury, as well as from the state budget.